Right wrong

Remember when Rainy River was its own cosy little riding at Queen’s Park? Times, of course, certainly have changed.
First it was the former government of Mike Harris, which, in 1999 as an apparent cost-saving measure, decided to mirror provincial ridings with their federal counterparts, thus creating Kenora-Rainy River.
It was a shame to lose our independence, not to mention an extra voice for Northern Ontario in the legislature, but at least aligning with Kenora made sense.
Then in 2003, a federal commission reviewing electoral ridings in Ontario decided to amputate Rainy River District from Kenora and attach us instead to Thunder Bay, thus creating Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
No disrespect to current NDP MP John Rafferty, who works to maintain a regular presence and ear here in the hinterland, as did his Liberal predecessor, Ken Boshcoff, but our issues, concerns, and interests clearly follow a north-south line, not an east-west one.
Not to mention we don’t even share the same time zone as our urban cousins some 350 km away.
Fast forward to rumours yesterday that Ontario will be given 13 additional seats in the House of Commons. Though unlikely to bear fruit, Northern Ontario should lobby for at least one or two of those. After all, we complain our region is ignored in Ottawa, so the more voices we have, the better.
Closer to home, meanwhile, this proposed realignment presents a perfect opportunity to reverse that ludicrous decision 11 years ago to stick us with Thunder Bay. We certainly haven’t reaped any benefits from the change, and it can be argued our voices are drowned out by the bigger population of the city.
It is time to re-join Kenora and our fellow communities of Northwestern Ontario. It is time to right the wrong.